"How did it come to this?" - This must have been the question the Christian missionaries asked themselves as Hideyoshi followed by successive Tokugawa Shoguns made life unbearable for Christians in Japan. If only we had handed over the ship...if only we'd handed over the treasure.....if only we had that Englishman beheaded.....
It would be hard to find a group of Japanese more oppressed than the Christians. But why were they especially targeted? What threat did they represent?
War in medieval Japan was a colourful bonanza - bravery, cowardice and accounting!
The word sengoku means 'chaotic states' or 'warring states/countries' and 'jidai' means 'age - like 'iron age'. Betrayal, destruction, suffering and despair. It's every man for himself - and a few men rose to the top.
The peasants of Japan finally get their turn at dealing out violence!
Every tourist who goes to Kyoto goes here - but its story, and that of the Silver Pavilion, are not well known
Did the Mongols get beaten by typhoons sent by the gods?
The names of Yoshitsune and Yoritomo of the Minamoto clan are legendary in Japanese history. But how did they seize power from the Taira? And how and why did they move the de facto capital to Kamakura and usher in a new age in Japanese governance.
Taira Kiyomori spared the lives of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune - two young children at the time - in order, allegedly, to sleep with their mother. Ewwwww. But this is a cracking tale of revenge, bravery and betrayal.
In this episode we discuss the near-irrevocable usurpation of power by the warrior class; the samurai. For anyone thinking about going to Kyoto and Nara, lots of the places and names in this episode will make your trip a little more enjoyable!
The Heian Era is sometimes seen as Japan's classical era. Great works of art, religious thought and crafty politicians make this era fascinating!
Emperor Kammu builds Kyoto, gets pressured by a dead guy and the peasants do what they do best, get oppressed. Here is the script
In this episode I discuss the construction of the huge temple complex in Nara, Todaiji, the domination of Buddhism and vengeance of Empress Shotoku. Here is the script
In this podcast I'll be walking through the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, early Japanese attempts at literacy and why they thought China was cool. Here is the script
In this first episode I talk about the creation myths of Japan, the terribly unreliable source documents and the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu, and his quest to establish court in central Japan. This is my first go at a podcast so any gentle feedback is welcomed. Here is the script